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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Monday, April 5, 2010

John Greene Whitaker!!!

The meadowlarks are back! Their arrival each spring is something our whole family looks foreward to. You don't so much look for them as listen for them as mid-March approaches. This year they were about a week behind their average arrival time here in the badlands. They have been back now for two weeks and there are a few more each day it seems. This is the first one I was able to capture with a photo this spring. We were out feeding cows this morning and there he was on a bush singing away!

The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of North Dakota, Montana,and Wyoming and probably a few other states. When I grew up in Wyoming, we studied Wyoming history in elementary, jr. high and high school. The teacher I had in fourth grade for Wyoming history told us that meadowlarks are saying  "John Greene Whitaker"when they sing. When you listen to their song, it does sound a lot like that! When I was teaching my granddaughter about meadowlarks and told her that is what they said she has never forgotten it. She is convinced though that they are singing "John DEERE Whitaker"!

As I have mentioned, the arrival of the meadowlarks is kind of a big deal in our family. When any of us have been away from home when the meadowlarks show up in the spring, we excitedly call to spread the news. The year my oldest son was in Iraq, I wrote him a letter right away to tell him I had heard the first one of the spring. When he was in Colorado, he called home to tell me that the meadowlarks had shown up there and held his cell phone out the truck window so I could hear them!

One of the coolest things to see is a meadowlark sitting on a fence post singing away while the snow is flying around him. He knows that is just what happens some times in the spring here on the prairie and in the badlands! Sure hope I can capture that sight with my camera someday!

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